Race between Conor Lamb, Rick Saccone cost $16 million so far

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The 18th district won't exist next year due to a Supreme Court decision ordering the map to be redrawn.

KDKA did reach out to Lamb multiple times in multiple ways Monday, but his campaign says he preferred to focus on door-to-door campaigning with no public or media events.

Now, like many other Democrats, Lamb is hoping that labor will turn out the vote for him.

Saccone and conservative groups have painted Lamb as a liberal ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Lamb, however, keeps to party orthodoxy on unions. If Lamb can replicate that in Pennsylvania, he stands a good chance of winning. The people here, 94% of whom are white, feel forgotten by Washington.

Lamb's district, Pennsylvania's 18th, voted for Donald Trump by 20 percentage points more than Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Saccone could run in a strongly Republican district, numbered the 14th, that includes most of the current 18th and is even more pro-Trump.

He even traveled to the state Saturday to hold a raucous campaign-style rally, at which he mused on topics including giving drug dealers the death penalty, Celebrity Apprentice ratings, and the supposed attractiveness of his younger self.

A college professor and former Air Force counterintelligence officer, Saccone won an endorsement from the influential Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper, which praised his greater experience and knowledge of the district.

If it wasn't crystal clear already, President Donald Trump's roaring rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night underscored the fact that, more than a year into the job, Trump has no interest in leaving behind the vulgar insults or biting attacks on the free press that defined his 2016 Republican campaign.

Todd, whom Trump derided throughout the campaign as "sleepy eyes Chuck Todd", responded to Mnuchin with a deadpan tone.

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In order to make up the 20 point differential from 2016, Lamb would likely need to outperform Clinton in nearly every type of district, not only doing better than Clinton did against Trump in the bluest areas but also doing significantly better in the reddest areas and breaking near even with the Republican in the more moderate, average parts of the district where Trump in 2016 won by around 20-21 points.

"Candidates matter. And Conor Lamb is a superior candidate", said O'Connell, who knows the Pennsylvania district well.

Still, Democrats want to use the race as another way to needle Trump. Like many special elections, the race is being closely monitored for clues about what it could mean for the upcoming midterm elections. Lamb also had the benefit of being able to tack to the center, basically running as a moderate Republican ("Republican lite"), because the unique nature of the race cut off any potential challenge from his left. In 24 consecutive special House elections, the party defending the vacant district has been victorious, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government.

Republican dominance has been so strong here that Democrats ran no candidates in the last two U.S. House elections, even though state voter registration records show Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

"If I were Saccone, I'd tell Trump to stay away because he puts his foot in his mouth", she said.

Lamb's positions, while not exactly hugging the Democratic party, have endeared him to voters from both sides of the political aisle. "But if he comes within a shot, he'll look like a genius for predicting what's ahead and that he'll be out in front of the new generation". Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for him in early March.

Political strategists speculated the timing of the announcement was done to help Saccone as steel, coal and other energy industries are a major employer in the district.

Mr Saccone is a portly 60-year-old, who is also a veteran, and has been a state representative since 2011.

"This place had 400 employees and they added 80 new full-time employees since tax reform passed", Trump Jr. said as he ate a bowl of Sarris's apple pie ice cream.

If he loses, it could foreshadow what is already expected to be a hard midterm election cycle for Republicans.

Lamb's best shot at eeking out a victory will be if he increases the turnout in the bluest areas, wins a higher percentage of the bluest areas and also swings folks in the reddest parts of the district.

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